UN Security Council calls on South Africa to withdraw from Namibia

The International Court of Justice reaffirmes the United Nations’ authority over Namibia

In 1969, the UN Security Council called on South Africa to withdraw from Namibia. In 1971, the International Court of Justice reaffirmed the United Nations’ authority over Namibia and demanded South Africa to withdraw. South Africans ignored these requests. In late 1971, a general strike in Namibia paralyzed almost the whole economy of the country. South Africans imprisoned strike leaders, a state of emergency was proclaimed in the north of the country. Many contract workers, among them a large number of Ovambos, went to the north to join the armed fight against South Africa.

Inn 1972, the UN continued to insist on a South African withdrawal. Instead of this, South Africa intensified its politics of discrimination. South Africa wanted to pressurize Kavangos and Ovambos into a certain state of self-administration to undermine the demands of the United Nations. However, SWAPO succeeded in calling a boycott of the poll. As a reaction, SWAPO leaders and followers were taken in custody or publicly beaten up. Still, demonstrations were held up and down the country and the number of SWAPO fighters rose continuously. South Africa mobilized more troops and sent them into Namibia.

In 1973, Swapo founded PLAN (the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia) where they organized their freedom fighters. In December 1973, the United Nations officially acknowledged SWAPO as the “authentic representation of the Namibian people” and gave them observer status.

Portuguese colonial power ends in Angola

In 1975, the Portuguese colonial power ended in the neighbouring state of Angola. This caused South Africa to fortify the troops at the Angolan border. PLAN’s Operations from Angolan ground were made easier now.

The UN demanded South Africa to name a date for a withdrawal from Namibia before June 1975. South Africa ignored this request. In late 1975, South Africa invaded Angolan territory and managed to deplete some larger units of Namibian freedom fighters. However, their success only lasted until Angolan freedom fighters engaged in the fights. South Africa was not prepared for a war on two fronts and withdrew from Angola. Meanwhile, South Africa had lost its last remnants of credibility with the United Nations because the invasion of Angola was a direct violation of their mandate, which forbade South Africa to use Namibia as an area of deployment.

The fight for independence was reinforced when conservative leaders and groups in the centre and the south of Namibia joined SWAPO in 1976.

The Gymnasium Conference